Weary no More
As I was standing at the edge of my garden, I was having trouble spotting the vegetables that I had worked so hard on growing this year. I know they are in there, but the weeds are too high and too thick for me to see them. And why I am I feeling so exhausted right now?
I am a gardener and I love it, but as I was standing there, I realized that I go through the same challenging cycle of thoughts every year. It’s a seasonal thing. I always start out with such high hopes and get off to a great start in the spring, only to see it end by dragging myself across the finish line by the time autumn arrives. Does it always have to end that way?
Coming out of a Minnesota winter, I have enough pent up energy and enthusiasm about planting my vegetable garden that I can hardly wait until the ground is thawed. We endure five months without leafs on the trees, shortened cloud filled days, and snow on the ground. Once the snow leaves and spring arrives, so do the familiar smells which add to the excitement of getting outside once again. Eventually the day arrives when I till the garden and breathe in the distinct smell of freshly turned earth. I go to the local nursery and pick up my seed potatoes, multiple varieties of tomato plants, and other seeds. We spend a weekend sinking them into the soil and putting down straw between rows as a weed barrier. Finally…I am off and running into the new season!
As spring turns into summer, I weed and water, watching my babies grow knowing that I will once again be having fresh produce this year. About this time, my strawberries come ripe and we start picking those. My five apple trees and two pear trees have beautiful flowers and will soon turn into young fruit. All is right with the world.
As we move into July, enthusiasm level is still high—kind of. I am harvesting some lettuce and my potato plants are getting bigger. Weeding becomes a little more tedious, but I am still energetic and doing alright. Then it happens…again. Potato bugs start attacking my potato plants and the battle begins.
As July turns into August, my enthusiasm wanes. The heat of the summer as well as the mosquitoes keep me away from the garden. After putting up a valiant effort, I begin losing the battle with the potato bugs. I have killed hundreds of them, but they lay enough eggs to multiply faster that I can kill them. I try squishing them, using the blow torch on them, and even try ignoring them, but nothing is effective! Soon, my potato plants are decimated. By this time, the weeds are winning in the rest of the garden as well. Ugh!
As August rolls into September, the weather begins to break and cool temperatures return. My tomatoes are doing well. I have harvested half of my potatoes and my two rows of corn turned out great. My raspberries are ripening and my apple and pear trees are loaded. It’s now time to pick my tomatoes as well as my peppers and onions, but there’s only one problem. My garden looks like a disaster.
I am feeling overwhelmed. I am tired. And to be honest, I don’t want to harvest it all. I just want to enjoy the beginning of this fall weather without having to go through all this work. Even though the harvest it right at my doorstep, I want to quit. But I also know that my garden is not going to harvest itself. We usually can salsa with all the garden items, but that is a lot of work as well. And what am I going to do with all of these apples? Can I just let my entire harvest go to waste?
I was thinking about this question and about the feelings I have…and how it seems to recur every year. It never fails; right on the verge of reaping, I feel like quitting. I eventually get fed up and want to simply let the harvest rot in the field. Have you ever felt that way?
The bible tells us in in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” I then wondered how close I had to been to other victories in my life that slipped through my fingers because I grew weary and quite close to the end. There is rest at the end of season, but if we cut short those seasons because we don’t have the endurance to finish, we then also lose out on the rewards that are waiting for us at the end. Regardless of who you are or what you do, we are all in the beginning, middle, or final stage of some season in our life. And yes, we all tend to get weary at some point and want to throw in the towel; but if we do, we will miss out of the reward that is right around the corner.
September typically represents a new beginning—a new season for many of us. School starts again, church activities ramp up, and fall chores begin again. However, this season I pray that God gives you the endurance you need to finish the course you are on. It is my prayer that you do not become discouraged. Why? So you can enjoy the fruits of your labor and then enter into His rest when you have completed what is before you.
As for me…in another month or so, I will have rest. So much rest, in fact, that I will be itching again for the return of spring! Sometimes it is hard to see that. We want what we want when we want it. But life doesn’t work that way. Again, the bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” So during this season, I will press on and harvest the fruit of this season. I will rest during the season of rest, and I will purpose—once again—to press towards those marks that God has laid before me.
Remember, if you don’t quit, you will win.